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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  August 24, 2010 12:00am-12:30am EDT

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primaries tomorrow with jeff zeleny, political correspondent for the "new york times." the florida race is likely to be one of the most closely watched. john mccain has been involved in a bitter battle with jd hayworth. rufus wainwright is here. his by his mother, kate mcgarrigle. later on, a special performance. a preview of tomorrow's primaries and rufus wainwright coming up now. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. tavis and nationwide insurance, working to improve financial
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literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] tavis: his calendar says it is the dog days of august, but with midterm elections held at tomorrow, november 2 seems right around the corner. for a preview of the key races, i am joined by jeff zeleny, political correspondent for the "new york times." good to have you on the program. i want to start with your piece today.
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it talks specifically about marco rubio in florida, but it raises a larger question about all of these tea party favorites and whether or not between now and then, they will have to temper their message. tell me about what you have to say to us. >> i spent some time last week with marco rubio. not so long ago he was the breakout star of this movement. he was seen as the first tea party senator. a few things happened, -- turley kristen new he was in preble -- charlie crist knew he was in trouble so he jumped out. that complicated the task for margot. -- for marco.
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he was moderating his message. he was not reflecting back the anger. he was saying republicans need to present alternatives and ideas, not just be the opposition. he has a unique situation in florida different from the other candidates. he has to thread the needle in a complicated way because it will be a three-way general election campaign. he is pushing ideas. he thinks republicans have not put forward a enough alternatives. tavis: speaking of charlie crist becoming independent, i had him on this program and talked about whether or not he left the party or whether the party left him. i want to get your thoughts.
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>> i am not a guy who reflects have and blames others. i have been asked a question in several ways. did i leave the party or it did the party leave me? i think the party left me. i was proud to be a part of the party of abraham lincoln or teddy roosevelt. the man who said in his second inaugural address with malice toward none. tavis: al is this tea party complicating matters? >> it depends where you look. it is different state by state, but the governor is right in some respects. the republican primary has become more conservative. there is no denying he saw a political opportunity and went for it and will test the theory in florida, if voters are mad
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only at democrats or met equally at democrats and republicans. take nevada, sharing use that anger and unrest to help her win her republican primary. a lot of republicans are thinking she is not the strongest candidate to run against kerry reid. i am not completely -- against harry reid. some of these extreme candidates who are not necessarily viewed as the top republicans, that they still cannot win. harry reid has a ceiling on his support. what we know for sure is the makeup of the senate next year will be completely different. some of these candidates will
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emerge as winners. it will change the dynamic. tavis: when you say completely different, are you suggesting democrats want to use -- want to lose the senate? >> we will find out. i spent some time in wisconsin. he know if senator feingold -- if he is in trouble a lot of democrats are in trouble. it is too early to say ed democrats will lose control. republicans would need to win in california and washington state. even if democrats hold their majority, it will be much smaller. there will be at least a handful of new senators who will be representing the tea party movement, some of this unrest
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in. it will be different. the senator from south carolina will not stand alone as a rabble rouser. there will be many others joining him. it will be a moment of clarity for the republican party. i think they make up will be different. tavis: your message sounds in direct contradiction to what vice-president biden had his say. he is much less concerned about the democrats losing control in your. >> i was at his speech. he thinks democrats will hold the house and senate. as said if it was not illegal, i would put the book on it. you expect the vice-president to say something like that when he
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is delivering a pep rally. he was urging democrats to be a little more confident, don't be so pessimistic. he was firing up the troops. parker -- party leaders are worried about the house. they believe the senate could be at risk if everything goes right for republicans. the vice president was giving a red meat to his democratic house -- democratic crowd. tavis: it appeared john mccain was in serious trouble in arizona. he looked to be on the verge of being thrown out, leaving very unceremoniously. it appears now that john mccain may pull off this race in arizona, which would make him the favorite.
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>> here it looks like senator mccain is winning over the former congressman. it is a surprise. i was in arizona when sarah palin appeared at senator mccain's side. he would not have done that if he knew it was going to be an easy primary. he has spent $21 million on the primary. he has convinced republican voters that he has a new position on immigration. a lot of that money has gone towards taking a tough stance on immigration, not the same john mccain we saw a couple of years ago trying to negotiate with an agreement with senator kennedy. senator mccain has insulated himself from this attack from
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the right. it looks like he will prevail in a primary. one thing we are not sure of is voter turnout in an august primary. if it is small, the people supporting mr. hayworth may be more passionate than mr. mccain's support. if senator mccain would be defeated that would be a major surprise. tavis: you don't expect mccain to get into tomorrow, but is there one race you are keeping your eyes on where there might be a surprise? >> i would also look at the late returns in alaska. sarah palin has doubled down on a senate candidate. she is going against the incumbent. if she would have been to pull off that victory that would be
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interesting. look for another sarah palin endorsee to fall. tavis: jeff zeleny, thanks for sharing your insights. up next, singer-songwriter rufus wainwright and a performance. so stay with us. rufus wainwright is a talented singer whose latest project is called "all days are night." as is the first since the death of his mother, kate mcgarrigle. here is some of the recording session for one song. >> ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ tavis: tell me about this on. >> a lot of people think this is some sort of the imaginary character or symbol, but it is a friend of mine i had when i was a preteen in elementary school in canada. it was this guy i knew as a kid. tavis: i mention this was the
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first project since the passing of your mother. how do you push this through when i assume you are going through a difficult time? >> i basically made the unconscious choice of throwing as much work as possible at this situation. it for my mother passed away i finished my album and luckily i had a good month with her to be with her, so i was not multitasking at that point. but right after i went on to our -- went on tour. it just felt that way and i think the fates were on my side.
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some hire force was looking after me because it is too long to sit down and think about too much. i do plan to take a good six months off after christmas and absorb the shock, but i do recommend working a lot. tavis: i can understand that. it does help to put ourselves into our work, but it is not either or. at some point if you don't take the time -- you never close on ed, but if you don't take that time it will he -- hit you when you least expect it. >> i am aware of that fact. there have been so many things. my sister is a fantastic singer as well and is singing with me
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now. she had a child before my mother passed away. arc angelo. tavis: no pressure. >> the pressure was on right away. he has been really getting us through. tavis: tell me about the fascination with the shakespeare sonnets. >> i did an amazing project with robert wilson in germany at the berlin ensemble which is this amazing theater where the opera appeared -- opera premiere. we were commissioned to do a theater piece based on the shakespeare sonnets and i put 10
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of them to music. on this album there are three of them. i knew of the sonnets before and there are certain lines, i am what i am, which you cannot really escape, but having dove into them and and spend some time in that territory, it totally changed my life. there is a bottomless pit of brilliance. there is no way of ever getting it all around your head, -- tavis: his what is the process of putting music to a sign that? >> the best thing to do is not to think too much. i have found whatever comes -- you are not the genius. he is.
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for once i am not the genius. [laughter] i tend to do what would come instinctively and what stays out of the web. and also what is most -- what happens the quickest? i think this is about taking a backseat. tavis: when you spend that much time with shakespeare's sonnets given what the project was you come away with what appreciation for shakespeare's brilliance? >> to further what you said about getting a lot out of bed, -- a lot out of it, i am also premiering in november 5 of
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them. i will sing that with the orchestra. tavis: once you take his word and put music to it and now you perform a head. >> i will be dressing up like him. i think what i have learned is that -- it is a curse and a blessing that he existed. on one hand, is so beautiful and deep, but on the other hand, nobody will ever be as good as that. almost in music with mozart where it is mindboggling how that happened. you just have to be thankful that you are the recipient.
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as an artist you do get jealous. tavis: your name, your mother gave this to you? did she tell you why? >> who is your makeup artist? tavis: she loved. did she pay you to say this on tv? >> i should have tried that. but i'm -- what happened was my father's name is [unintelligible] and he had always resented that, so he did not want to give me iv, but he still wanted something unusual. you can really put anything with
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my last name. so they had a contest and my dad knew someone in high school who had the where his name. my mother knew something named oscar and rufus won. there was a funny story i was telling sheila. why was in a cab in d.c. and it was this old black cab driver and he was really nice. at one point he said what is your name? my name is rufus. he said, your name is not rufus. he said if your name is rufus, i
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am michael jackson. tavis: i think most brothers only know a couple of rufuses. i grew up in a church and my minister's name was rufus. i grew up with a minister everyday named rufus and here you come. the new project is out now and we are glad to have you on the program. you are going to perform for us. >> i will do one side. tavis: here we go, we can all judge. how music and shakespeare go together, courtesy of rufus wainwright. stay with us, we are back with a rufus in just a moment. from his critically acclaimed cd, here is rufus wainwright,
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performing a woman's face. good night and keep the faith. ♪ >> ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ [applause] >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis: join me next time for oscar winning producer jon landau. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. nationwide insurance is proud
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to improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment, one conversation at a time. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from dior's like you. thank you. -- from viewers like you. >>
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